Kovel Old Jewish Cemetery
The exact period of the cemetery’s establishment is unknown. First, it appears on Russian maps of the late 18th century. It was called “the old Jewish cemetery.” Presumably, it was demolished during WWII, and municipal service company buildings were later built on the site. There is a memorial without inscriptions at the entrance to the site (51.212886, 24.679111).
The Jews began to settle in Kovel’ from the early 16th century. The community had a cemetery and Chevra Kadisha. In 1614, Jews gained the right to reside in all the streets of the town. The Jews of Kovel’ suffered during the Khmelnytskyi massacre. In 1651, about 20 Jewish families lived in the town, and a synagogue was built in 1660. After Rabbi Mordechai of Neskhizh moved here from Toykut, Hasidism began to gain followers of the Trisk, Neskhizh, and Ruzhin dynasties. In 1857, the city was severely damaged by fire. Four synagogues existed in 1865, and by 1910 nine more were built. In the late 19th and early 20th century, a Jewish hospital, Talmud Tora, and five private colleges were operating in the town. Zionist organizations and parties, including Hovevei Zion and Bund, were active. The city had two Jewish cemeteries. In 1897, the Jewish population numbered 8,521 and, by 1921, increased to 12,758. During WWI, the economic conditions worsened, and the community suffered epidemics as well as pogroms in 1919 and 1920. During the interwar period, educational and cultural spheres of Kovel’ flourished: two Hebrew schools, a Tarbut gymnasium, an ORT specialized school, three sports clubs, three Jewish libraries, a drama studio and a literary circle led by I.-L. Perets functioned. Jews made up half of the city municipal administration. On June 28, 1941, the German troops occupied the city. In the spring of 1942, two ghettos were formed. One of them was built for Jewish artisans and their families. Together, they imprisoned about 24,000 local Jews and those from surrounding areas. On June 3 and 5, 1942, 8,600 Jews were murdered. After WWII, in 1970, around 250 Jews were residing in Kovel’. Chaim Pazner (1899-1981), a famous politician, resided in Kovel’.